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Habitual Physical Activity and Health-Related Physical Fitness in Fourth-Grade Children

James F. Sallis, PhD; Thomas L. McKenzie, PhD; John E. Alcaraz, PhD
Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(8):890-896. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160320092025.
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• Objective.  —To examine the relationship between habitual physical activity and components of health-related physical fitness in children.

Design.  —Cross-sectional survey with correlational analysis.

Setting.  —Seven public elementary schools in a suburban southern California city.

Participants.  —Five hundred twenty-eight healthy fourth-grade children (274 boys and 254 girls), 85% of whom were non-Hispanic whites. Ninety-eight percent of eligible students participated.

Interventions.  —None.

Measurements/Main Results.  —Results of six measures of physical activity in children (monitoring by accelerometer, parent report, and child self-reports of weekday activity, weekend activity, and summer involvement in activity classes and youth sports) were combined in a physical activity index. This index of habitual physical activity was examined in relation to measures of five components of health-related fitness: the mile run, skin-fold tests, pull-ups, sit-ups, and the sit-and-reach test. The physical activity index was significantly associated with all five fitness components. The canonical correlation was .29.

Conclusion.  —Active children appear to engage in a sufficient variety of activities to enhance multiple components of health-related fitness.(AJDC. 1993;147:890-896)

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